Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Louis vs. Limbaugh

In this column from December 30, New York Daily News columnist Errol Louis offers some wise words on the latest attempts to insert creationism into school science curricula:


Laugh if you want, but it's not funny. Kids around the country are being taught religion masquerading as science, in violation of the law. In Cobb County, before the kooky textbooks-with-stickers approach, students got specially altered books with blank pages where the evolution section belonged.

Small wonder that a CBS poll last month showed 55% of Americans believe God created humans, more or less complete, sometime in the last 10,000 years.

Evolution and the literally exhaustive geologic records that establish the Earth's multibillion-year age remain the most solid, well-proved science ever developed. It's not incompatible with the Bible, provided one is prepared to read symbol and metaphor into the Good Book, along the lines of interpreting each of the six days of creation in Genesis as a billion years or so.

Religious fundamentalists reject this approach, turning a theological error into an 80-year political crisis. The Supreme Court has twice struck down the far right's disingenuous “two sides of the controversy” approach as a transparent, unconstitutional effort to enlist government in the religion business. (Emphasis Added)


I especially like that bold-faced comment.

As part of his ongoing crusade to prove that he is, indeed, more ignorant than his brother, David Limbaugh offered this response. Let's consider a few excerpts:


In this NY Daily News column, Errol Louis vents more than a little frustration at “the loony right.” Louis is upset that “Religious conservatives are trying to upset Scopes vs. Tennessee, the 1925 `monkey trial' that struck down a law prohibiting the teaching of Darwin's theory of evolution.” He then proceeds to cite a number of examples, and, in the process, terribly confuses certain concepts, including Biblical creationism and intelligent design.


Now, I am among those who believe there is no important difference between Biblical creationism and intelligent design. The latter is just a watered-down version of the former, offered for the sole purpose of finding a version of creationism that might pass constitutional muster. As it happens, though, there is a reason Limbaugh does not provide any examples of Louis engaging in this confusion. Louis, in fact, does not conflate ID with Biblical creationism. He merely describes both as bad science.


Here's his first example:


In Cobb County, a suburb of Atlanta, the school board is being sued in federal court for ordering stickers to be placed inside science textbooks reading: “Evolution is a theory, not a fact.” A ruling on the case is expected soon.


But for our culture's indoctrination on these issues, Louis's reaction would puzzle me. Is he upset with the statement that evolution is a theory or at its mandatory placement in the science textbooks? I've been reading quite a bit about the problems with Darwinism lately, as well as the increasing credibility of Intelligent Design theory. It amazes me how much disinformation has been taught in our public schools, universities, and our culture in general on evolution. See Jonathan Wells' Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth? Why Much of What we Teach About Evolution is Wrong, Michael Denton's Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, Darwin on Trial," by Phillip E. Johnson, and Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, by Michael J. Behe, for starters.


Of course, I suspect that Louis, like all sensible people, objects to the simplistic dichotomy between theory and fact. As for Limbuagh's little reading list, we should point out that all four of the books he mentions have been thoroughly debunked. We might also point out that Denton's book was published in 1986, Johnson's book was published in 1991, Behe's came out in 1996, and Wells' appeared in 2000. Not exactly cutting edge stuff.

None of these books was put through any sort of scientific peer review before being published. Furthermore, the books by Johnson and Wells were published by explicitly right-wing publishers. This is a good lesson in how the right-wing game is played. First, establish a publishing house that will print any sort of scientific gobbledygook that happens to support a pre-ordained viewpoint. Then pass it along to an eloquent mouthpiece like Limbuagh; someone who is good at pushing the buttons of the zombie set. The merits of the arguments made in these books is not important, almost no one reads them anyway. What matters is that they exist, thereby allowing people like Limbuagh to say, “Hey! This guy says evolution is nonsense, and he wrote a book!

Limbaugh's column goes on in this vein, hitting the usual ID talking points. As many other's have noted, right-wingers are remarkably good at staying on message. So Limbaugh repeats the tired old tropes about there being a bias against ID among academics, that ID folks just want to have a fair and open debate, and that ID is gaining steam as a scientific theory. All of it is nonsense, but that does not matter. In his role as a spokesperson for modern conservatism, Limbaugh works unencumbered by the need for basic accuracy.

9 Comments:

At 5:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wells' book isn't bad just because it's not cutting edge. Wells' book is bad because he makes demonstrably false, patently false claims.

For example, in one chapter he claims there is controversy about whether the peppered moths studied by Kettlewell actually demonstrate evolution. He footnotes a small handful of actual moth researchers. If one goes to the sources listed in the footnotes, however, one discovers that each and every one of the researchers agrees that the moths DO demonstrate natural selection in action.

In her book about the real controversy over Kettlewell's research, *Of Moths and Men,* Judith Hooper notes that unscrupulous creationists and similar fellow travelers will undoubtedly seize on her book as indicating Kettlewell's work does not demonstrate natural selection. That's not so, she says, and even were it accurate, it wouldn't do much damage to evolution overall.

True to form, in his testimony prepared for the Texas State Board of Education, Wells cited Hooper's 2002 book as supporting his contention that evolution is in error.

This is astounding chutzpah, really. But there is no criminal penalty for telling lies to sell books.

Now, had Limbaugh actually read the book, he should have noticed the citations didn't really add up. Had he bothered to check EVEN ONE footnote in the chapter on moths, he'd have been able to expose Wells.

Dollars to doughnuts Limbaugh hasn't read the books, hasn't even seen them, and wouldn't know the truth if it lodged an antibiotic-resistant strep infection in his throat, or if the life of his dearest diabetic friend depended on it.

 
At 5:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, didn't mean to post that anti-Wells diatribe wholly anonymously.

E.D.

 
At 12:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

on top of all that (and again, like Rush Limbaugh) he can't even get his history right.

the Scopes trial resulted in a GUILTY verdict, in compliance with the law. Nothing in Scopes... or its appeals changed the law of the state, which was eventually repealed in 1967 by an act of the state's legislation. John Scopes himself was only released of his fine by a technicality in that the jury had no right to relinquish the sentencing of the fine to the Judge, who should have been aware of that fact.

the first case that called teaching creationism in public schools a violation of church and state was in 1987, Edwards v Aguillard, originated in Louisiana.

 
At 3:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

correcting myself. Limbaugh didn't write the wrong info on Scopes; Louis himself did.

however, if Limbaugh knew his history, he could have discredited Louis on those grounds and ignored the rest. Instead, just like his brother, he opens his big fat mouth and makes himself look even more foolish.

-- Joe Shelby, acroyear at io dot com

 
At 1:05 PM, Anonymous zenegra said...

Tadalafil
Cialis
Zenegra
Zenegra
Stop4rx
Zenegra
Stop4rx
Purchase Viagra
ZENEGRA
VIAGRA
Generic Viagra
Zenegra
Zenegra
ZENEGRA
Zenegra

 
At 1:06 PM, Anonymous purchase viagra said...

Tadalafil
Cialis
Zenegra
Zenegra
Stop4rx
Zenegra
Stop4rx
Purchase Viagra
ZENEGRA
VIAGRA
Generic Viagra
Zenegra
Zenegra
ZENEGRA
Zenegra

 
At 11:54 PM, Anonymous zenegra said...

Tadalafil
Cialis
Zenegra
Stop4rx
Zenegra
Stop4rx
ZENEGRA
VIAGRA
Generic Viagra

Zenegra

ZENEGRA

Zenegra

zenegra
mp3 players
buy mp3 players
cheap mp3 players
wholesale mp3 players
portable mp3 players

Zenegra

ZENEGRA
purchase viagra
zenegra

 
At 5:08 PM, Blogger goliah said...

COMPLETELY UNEXPECTED. A real monkey wrench is about to hit both sides in the ID vs Evolution debate and particularly religion is in for difficult times. For a wholly new interpretation of the teachings of Christ, contained within the first ever religious claim and proof that meets all the criteria of the most rigorous, evidential, testable scientific method, is published and circulating on the web. It is titled The Final Freedoms. An intellectual, religious and political bombshell!

It is described by a single Law and moral principle, offering its own proof, one in which the reality of God confirms and responds to an act of perfect faith, by a direct intervention into the natural world, delivering a correction to human nature, including a change in natural law [biology], consciousness and human ethical perception [proof of the soul], providing new, primary insight and understanding of the human condition!

So while proponents of ID may have got the God part right, if this development demonstrates itself to be what it claims, and the means exist to do so, all religious teaching, tradition and understanding of ID are wholly in error, while the proponents of evolution who have rightly used that conception to beat down the credibility of religious tradition, but who have also used it to deny the potential for God, are in for a very rude shock.

However improbable, what history and theology have presumed to be impossible is now all too achievable. The implications defy imagination! No joke, no hoax and not spam.

Review copies of the manuscript, prior to paper publication, are a free pdf download from a number of sites including: www.energon.uklinux.net and http://thefinalfreedoms.bulldoghome.com

 
At 9:39 PM, Anonymous jaring safety said...

The article posted was very informative and useful
thanks for sharing..
jaring futsal | jaring golf | jaring kassa / jaring polynet | jaring pengaman proyek | jaring pengaman bangunan | jaring pengaman gedung | jaring gawang | jaring paranet / jaring tanaman | jaring safety |
jaring proyek | jaring bangunan | jaring gedung | jaring outbound | jaring truk | tali tambang |
jaring pengaman | jaring golf murah | jaring futsal murah | jaring truk sawit | jaring pengaman nylon | cargo net |

 

Post a Comment

<< Home